KamyR - “Dobareh”
Taraneh Enterprises Inc.
Kamyar or KamyR, the stage name he has chosen to go by, has finally released his debut album. An album which was tentatively due out two years ago! But here it is today, called “Dobareh”. I wasn’t really pleased with KamyR’s addition to Black Cats and called it a “Cadillac pulling a chariot” in my review. His voice was simply too strong for the old brand of POP which Black Cats delivered. Strangely the Black Cat edition which KamyR fronted delivered less spunk and FUNK, than the collective had ever done. Furthermore I also said “Kamyar is a strong SOUL/JAZZ voice that just screams to unfold wings and break free from the small cage of a commercial TEEN-POP band (and most likely will so in near feature)”. A prediction which soon became a reality.
The album is an elaborate collaboration with Hakim Rachek, his former fellow Black Cats member, for their production company Natural Vibe Productions. Except “Ey Jaan” which is composed and produced by Payam Shams. For most compositions stands KamyR himself, expect “Kola Chapeaux” which is a co-composed by Hakim. The lyrics of the album are written by three ladies, namely Golbarg, Sahara Monadi and Shaghayegh Sh.. “Dobareh” features 12 tracks and is released on Taraneh.
KamyR open the album with a short “Into” accompanied by the cheer of the crowd.
The first gem of the album arrives immediately. “Nazdike Man” is a mid-tempo song which fuses that gheri NINASH-NASH vibe with a subtle hint of R&B. FRESH and excellently executed!
Bringing in the JAZZ and DISCO in the HOUSE, “Mshab” is as funky as the spelling of its tile! This song will be something of a challenge when standing alone though, since although well-made it is a bit lighter on the Persian vibe front than the previous track.
Next track manages to do the balancing a bit better, though still a bit far from home for the Iranian market! A top-grade R&B production nonetheless, just as CRISP as the previous tracks. The song also features the RAP of the Iran-based undergrounder Saeed Panter.
Payam Shams’ “Ey Jaan” is my favorite track on the album and is to me the most perfect production on the album. Everything juxtaposes seamlessly on this track! It sounds familiar enough, yet super FRESH and edgy. Payam Shams is truly progressing at the speed of light, since in just a few years he has gone from outdated songs to high-end sound!
The oriental touch in “Az Daste To” comes across very French-Maghrebian influenced to my ears. It’s a nice song that lacks that certain something which should linger on once a song is over! The track also features Hossein Tohi, whose RAP fits well in the setting.
“Dooset Daaram” is a lovely ballad which blends ROCK and SOUL, but does it in a very ADULT CONTEMPORARY way and thereby falls as far as the Iranian market and mentality one can possibly get.
The same goes for the next song. Although “Deleman” boosts up the beat to an ACID JAZZy R&B song, it most likely won’t manage to strike a chord with an Iranian who is not already acquainted with this flavor!
Well, my French happens to be very limited to certain phrases that come handy when you are single and out and about in French speaking countries, so I do not really understand what KamyR and Hakim (if its them that is) are chatting about in the intro but being a fashion aficionado a “chapeaux” I do know and own!
Monsieur-dame, please put on your “Kola Chapeaux” for a stripped down JAZZ and SCAT song with an air de-France that will most likely not work in the Iranian market, but nonetheless is a FRESH and charming improvisation. It’s a very innovative fusion of lyrics, theme and musicality that normally never appear together in the same song! I like it a lot.
“Dobareh” is the second track released from the album. The title-track is a classic DISCO/FUNK jam and one of my personal favorites. Polished production without any jagged edge! Another track where things match perfectly.
And accordingly we’ve reached the final track on the album which happens also to be the fare that kicked off this solo career. “Ye Boos Bede” is another FRESH fusion of several styles and sounds that works perfectly with an Iranian mentality and market, due to its Iranian overtone.
I haven’t reviewed any LA-album in almost two years. Due to the fact that not much reviewable material has been released over there during this time, material that have sounded different than what Tehrangeles usually feeds us. But this is one album I was really looking forward to hear not to mention review, assuming that KamyR kept up the quality that he had been delivering in his couple of first songs. And even though I had my doubts and fears prior to hearing it, I must say that KamyR has come through with flying colours. I love the fact that he hasn’t settled for the run-of-the-mill LA formula and really tried to develop his own flavour, a fusion of 6/8, R&B, SOUL, FUNK and DISCO that goes well with his powerful voice. Unlike the Black Cats songs, which as I wrote in my review were incompatible and underwhelming. KamyR is staying true to the spirit of Persian POP but flirts boldly with his preferred non-Iranian genres. And if you are familiar with the French music scene and its R&B and SOUL flavours in particular you will definitely recognize the influences. If I am not mistaking both KamyR and Hakim have background in French speaking cultures and music, this connection works as a charm in this collaboration. As a result the album is top notch in terms of artistic ambition and performance.
However this multi-lingual and -cultural album has also an Achilles’ heel! Its only weakness lies in an imbalance. The fact is that the album does not balance its technical excellence with an equal amount of popular appeal. In other words the album is artistically hot from the oven, but commercially not hotter than room temperature! The released songs on videos are more or less the songs that work instantly in an Iranian market. The rest are for those who truly like to discover and savour music, even their dance-floor flavours. But unfortunately the majority of our consumers are not such epicures! The connoisseur will love to dive in the soundscapes and explore the creative collage that KamyR and Hakim have graced the wall of our music with, all those musical and cultural nuances and hints imbedded. While your random consumer skips those tracks after seconds, if the beat isn’t recognized as familiar or compatible enough for rump-shaking! That unfortunately is a reality and the reason why we still are decades behind western cultures in musical progress and development. We like to keep things the way we know them; novelties are good but as long as they are the old stuff dressed as new!
I never wrote a best of list this year, simply because there were no more albums of this kind to mention. And one album, as great as it truly is, can not make a list! Unfortunately. However, “Dobareh” gives me personally a great deal of pleasure, not to mention hope for the future of our popular music. Thank you Natural Vibe Productions!
Note: thanks to Peyman
Overall Performance: +++
Artistic Ambition: +++
Commercial Potential: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: +
Ethical Adherence: +++
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